(By Kavita Viswanath)
Ever since the IT boom in the ’90s, India’s tech landscape has transformed tremendously over the years. While there were hardly any women to be seen in this sector early on, the power of women in the tech industry is quite evident now. In the early days, women employees faced male domination in the technological field just like any other mainstream industry, a perhaps overarching assumption that technology is predominantly for males. This resulted in a mental barrier for consumers, colleagues, employers, and clients alike. The pre-conceived notion of women being incapable of doing technological developments restricted their performance; not because of their lack of skills or ability, but because of the barriers created by their colleagues in the industry. Women felt outnumbered in the industry and believed men have more opportunities for career growth across all levels. Also, the role of a woman as the primary caregiver at home and patriarchal attitudes are other reasons for the lower representation of this gender in the business community.
Early on there weren’t women in leadership positions and these positions were occupied by their male counterparts, but things have changed and women now occupy some of the most prestigious positions across top organizations. The atmosphere has changed significantly, making it natural for women to express their opinions and be heard at the workplace. From boosting corporate profits to driving innovation, the benefits are well documented.
Fast forward to today, women have opportunities in the tech industry but post the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be even more opportunities created for women as working styles across the globe are going to change and employees are going to utilize more and more tech tools to stay connected with their teammates. The usage of tech will increase exponentially in India. Companies are now changing their working style amidst the pandemic, allowing employees to work from home, which was not possible earlier. From tech giants like Google and Microsoft to small start-ups, companies are taking precautionary measures given the global pandemic and have recently asked their employees to work from home. The 9-5 office culture is facing challenges as more and more companies are now focusing on productivity rather than a 9-5 rulebook. This ‘new work culture’ will help companies retain, hire and get back their female workforce who was on sabbatical. This will help create an enabling environment for women in the workforce because work from home and flexible working hours will allow women to manage both work and family, which was not possible earlier. Changes in the working condition will give extra benefits to the women workforce and we will see more women in a tech role.
The emphasis on tech will increase in companies post the pandemic and there will be more hiring of tech experts in the future and women can grab those opportunities. Women used to avoid working the night shift at development centers due to security reasons and would miss out on good career growth, but post the pandemic, women can opt for night shift jobs as companies will allow work from home policies. Also, many women who want to work aren’t allowed to step out of the house. This will be a great opportunity for all those women who can now get actual jobs and fulfill their dream by working from home.
Everything will be digital-first from banks to schools to hospitals and many more sectors which will result in increased dependency on tech creating more opportunities for women workforce. Due to the pandemic, hundreds of schools and colleges are shutdown to contain the virus in India and now educators are transitioning trainings from in-person to online learning so that they can start online classes and ensure that students are up-to-date on their curriculum. For schools and colleges to take the digital route, they will require an efficient tech infrastructure and engineers for the smooth running of the digital classes. A lot of tech employees will be required for schools and colleges and women can be part of these jobs in the future.
(The author is the General manager at JFrog)